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What the 2022 Peak Shopping Season Results Say About 2023

European Q1 Shopping Index Results

Holiday shopping season results are changing. We dive into consumer behaviour to see why, and what we can expect in the future.

The Salesforce Shopping Index shows that despite the economic turmoil, last year’s peak season was fairly decent, from a global perspective. Global online sales in November and December came in at $1.14 trillion (flat year-on-year), driven – in part – by healthy growth across active footwear (31%), general footwear (15%) and general handbag and luggage (12%).

Of course, much of that growth is predominantly down to the much-discussed rising cost of living. In other words, growth was mostly driven because consumers spent more but didn’t necessarily buy more.

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The story was somewhat different on this side of the pond. Online sales across Europe declined by 9% in the fourth quarter of 2022, with order volume down 6%. Some categories including furniture (+105%), luxury handbags (+38%) and active footwear (+21%) were very much in demand during the period, while toys and learning (-25%), home appliances (-22%) and electronics & accessories (-20%) saw the biggest declines in the region.

Arguably the lower online sales, compared to the previous year, could partly be attributed to the fact that for the first time in two years, consumers across the region were able to choose between online shopping and in-store shopping — so shoppers spent less online as they headed to the store.

Overall, though, it’s clear that budgets remain tight in households across Europe. In the UK for example, the results from a Public Opinion and Social Trends poll conducted by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) in December showed that in response to the cost of living crisis, 67% of adults in the UK were spending less on non-essential items, compared to 48% the previous year.

Elsewhere across Europe, the data shows varying degrees of decline across all countries during the period — except for Eastern Europe, which continues to defy the trend in online shopping seen across Europe. The region recorded a very healthy 11% growth in online sales in the quarter, with order volume and traffic up 13% and 2% respectively.

As we look ahead into 2023, we expect consumers across many parts of Europe to remain cautious, as the economic situation continues to play out. That said, there will be opportunities for retailers amid the challenging environment — with success lying squarely with retailers that can quickly respond to changing consumer trends. From bridging the gap between physical and digital channels to building customer loyalty with innovative programmes, there are certain steps that retailers can take for success in the year ahead.


Powered by Salesforce platform data, the Shopping Index uncovers the true shopping story. We look at the previous nine quarters to uncover a deep understanding of how consumer behaviour is evolving and how the market is moving. The Shopping Index analyses the activity and online shopping statistics of more than 1.5 billion unique global shoppers from more than 61 countries. This battery of benchmarks covers both the recent history and current state of digital commerce. Several factors are applied to extrapolate macroeconomic figures for the broader retail industry, and these results are not indicative of Salesforce performance.

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Rosemary Okolie Director, Strategy & Insights for Retail and Consumer Goods, Salesforce

Rosemary is the Director of Strategy & Insights for Retail and Consumer Goods at Salesforce. Prior to joining Salesforce, Rosemary held various analytical roles in the financial services industry. She holds an MBA from London’s Cass Business School.

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